Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.

9/11 and the American Frontier

To The New York Times, Sept. 7, 2007

"America's Guardian Myths," by Susan Faludi (op-ed, Sept. 7), is very insightful. For a very brief time after 9/11 we North Americans had a chance to learn from our pain. One of its lessons might have been how much we are like others in our vulnerability, our suffering and our flawed leadership.

Since we were getting a flood of messages of sympathy and solidarity from around the world, we might have learned from them how to turn pain into compassion and wisdom. Then we could have begun to address the causes of the miseries that lead to terrorism.

We could have seen that terrorism is not simply born of evil but comes from histories of inferiority and the consequent desire for revenge. The way to counter terrorism is to advocate not for our own brand of "democracy" but for the just distribution of the world's resources.

Instead, we used 9/11 to bolster our own feelings of "us versus them," our illusory dream of invulnerability and our search for enemies rather than friends. This mentality, a blend of machismo and militarism, has given us bloody Iraq, tempts us to nuke Iran and requires us to look under every rock for dangerous foes.

Given this mentality, we will find them.

Tom F. Driver, Sheffield, MA (The writer is emeritus professor of theology and culture, Union Theological Seminary.)

How To Help Afghanistan?

To The New York Times, Aug. 23, 2007

The Taliban in Afghanistan will not be defeated militarily-not with punishing air power and its too frequent errant attacks, nor with more occupying troops and counterinsurgency units.

We need a Marshall Plan, without ideological strings, that addresses the desperate need for repaired and new infrastructure, decent jobs as a clear alternative to growing poppies, education and health care for all the people, with armed security limited to protecting this aid package, and a mutually closed border with Pakistan.

Only such a plan could possibly counter the Taliban in the hearts and minds of the long-suffering Afghan people.

(Rev.) Martin Deppe, Chicago, IL

A Surge of Disapproval

To the Los Angeles Times, Sept. 15, 2007

The new mantra for Bush's speech is "return on success." It is the new "Mission Accomplished" or "stay the course."

But what's the success?

So far, we have had nearly 3,800 American troops killed and 25,000 wounded, $500 billion wasted, 100,000 or more Iraqis killed and 2 million Iraqis fleeing to neighboring countries, and a whole generation of new recruits for Islamic extremist and terrorist groups.

Joel A. Davis, Glendale, CA

The General on the Hill

To The New York Times, Sept. 12, 2007

As the mother of a Marine, I avidly watched Gen. David H. Petraeus report on the war in Iraq to Congress. His comment that "the importance of recognizing that a premature drawdown of our forces would likely have devastating consequences" shows the greedy arrogance and thus major flaw in the Bush administration's foreign policy in the Middle East.

The Bush administration's objectives directly clash with the objectives of Iraqis; that is why these people didn't greet us with flowers and cheers but with bombs and bullets.

I would find it refreshing if this administration would finish its sentences; premature drawdown of our forces would be devastating for whom? Iraqis, the average American or the Bush administration's private interests?

Helen Logan, Fullerton, CA

Who Can Lead Us Out of War?

To San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 12, 200

I feel like we are the silent majority here in America. We vote in a Democratic majority to Congress to stop or at least slow down this president. We call our senators and representatives constantly, begging, pleading and yelling. …

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